Thursday, January 27, 2011

"Mommy There's Someone at the Gate to See You."

Every day is filled with a wonder of who will come to the gate. Maybe someone trying to sell a monkey, a random stranger asking to help pay for school, or medical bills. Maybe just someone who has a little cut and needs minor first aid. When we first moved here is was a posse of children that were curious about the muzungus, and wouldn't stop climbing our gate, thought it was funny to knock and run away, and/or those children who wanted in for one reason or another. Over time, with the help of the severe conditions of the dry season, it has transformed into a variety of people who have various needs. It has been challenging for us and personally it has been brought many questions. With the amount of need that comes knocking at our gate, we can not help them all and really not all of them need our help. The reality however is that a lot of them do. Who do we help? How do we help them? How much do we give? I will be honest and say that my heart is not always obliging when I hear, "Mommy there's someone at the gate to see you." It seems to usually fall when Cody is gone and I am in the middle of doing school with the children. When I hear that statement I am not thinking, "Oh good, I get to show the love of Christ, or have an opportunity to bless someone with our blessings." Instead I am thinking, "Who is it now and what do they want, don't they know I am busy." As I am walking to the gate I feel this sense of dread because I have to speak a language I don't know, and come completely out of my comfort zone. Part of this appalling heart condition stems from the attitude of some of the people here. Many of them just want from us and many are so ungrateful or are not responsible to help themselves. Then God reminds me that I can be the same way toward Him. Ungrateful, and always asking for more. I come to His gate doing the same thing, with the expectation, "ok God what can you give me, here's what I need and want." He continues to humble my heart. I am learning to have compassion for many of these people because really they don't know any better, and I had someone from the team gratefully remind me that for this very reason we came to serve these people. We knew before we came what they were like. They are not always easy to deal with, but then again am I? (no comments on this God loves everyone, not just those who are easy to get along with.

This morning I was blessed by what was at my gate (God does have a sense of humor). After the first woman left from needing many supplies, 2 others came about 15 minutes, from a neighborhood within Kotido (and yes it was in the middle of school). They were elderly widows, and have no children to help provide for them. They have no work, but if given the opportunity they told me that they would do something to provide for them, and this time I could see the sincerity in their eyes. I could see desperation I don't always see. They were hungry and asking for help. We told them that we would do all that we could to help find a solution. As always we tell people that we are here with Shalom Ministries and partner with them to help the needs of the area and that we would look into how we could help them long term. (Several years ago 12 women from this neighborhood died because of starvation). In the meanwhile I gave them a bag of beans and some porridge. Today the woman looked at me with grateful eyes and said in NaKaramajong, "Thank you, because of your generosity we will will not go hungry today."

You can imagine how my heart was humbled and subdued. I have been praying that God would lead us to who we are to help and show us how to help, and that compassion would continue to pour from my heart. It was simple, and didn't require much from me, but meant so much to them.

We can give them food for today but what about tomorrow? I can clean and bandage the sore on your toe but what good will it do when you don't have shoes? God told me not to worry about that part. Just live for the day, be obedient and help those who we can, knowing that seeds will be planted and that He has a plan and purpose.

Thank you God for loving me even when I am difficult, help me to do the same. Thank you for hearing my prayers and my "comings to the gate." Thank you for your mercy and continued grace, help me to give it back to others around me. Thank you that you never quit on me and that You have far greater things in store for us than we could ever imagine. Thank you for our supporters who give, so we can give, help me to not hold onto that too tightly, but give me discernment and wisdom to how and where it should go. Thank you for giving us what we need for each day and then some. Thank you for what you are going to do in Karamoja, and that you offer far greater hope than a full belly.


Tuesday, January 18, 2011

Standing on the Promises of God

Because of the requests of many people I am grudgingly posting a "belly" picture (almost 30 weeks pregnant). Luckily it goes with something God has been teaching me. :) Over the last 2 weeks we have had many discussions about where we are going to deliver the baby. The discussion doesn't come easily because there are no great medical facilities in Kotido like there are in the US. Being American we are used to having conveniences like great doctors, hospitals, paved roads and emergency assistance (and a working vehicle). In the absence of such conveniences and the controlled environment, I have found my mind worrying about having the baby here and playing the "what if's" in my head.

God used the Israelites in Exodus 1-16 to remind me of His faith.

God showed many signs and wonders to deliver the Israelites from Egypt and to show His power,(just as God has done some incredible things in my life). At the end of chapter 14 in verse 31 after God parts the Rea Sea and destroys the Egyptians "Israel saw the great power that the Lord used against the Egyptians, so the people feared the Lord, and they believed in the Lord and in His servant Moses." When I read this I thought to myself, "Really? God had placed all kinds of plagues on the Egyptians but spared the Israelites to show his power and only after He parts the Red Sea do they believe?"

In chapter 15 they sing praises to God for His deliverance.

3 days later they start grumbling and suddenly that belief and the miraculous signs God had done is not enough for them to believe He has a plan and a purpose. Israel hardens their hearts and they do not trust in God. This theme continues throughout Exodus. God provides and the Israelites find themselves needing God for something but each time they have their doubts and harden their hearts.

Reading this helps me remember the things that God told us before we came, and to remember the things God has done in the past. We were pregnant before we left the States and felt God told us that He is in control no matter what happened we could depend on Him. That is the theme throughout the Bible. He has always been faithful even in our times of trials and uncertainty.

The Israelites had gone 3 days without water and they were starting to lose hope and wonder where God was. When the price gets too high (we have too much to lose) then it becomes more difficult to hold onto our faith. We start to believe that this time may be different. All the "what if's" start to get bigger and bigger and we can then tend to forget everything God has done for us in the past and what He said He would do in the future, and we can talk ourselves out of believing in God. That doesn't mean suffering will never happen because we know that God uses suffering for a purpose (1 Peter, James 1:2, Jesus' example, hall of faith in Hebrews 11, etc).

This time I am going to hold onto what God has said. I am going to stop my mind before getting to the "what if's". I am going to grab on to scripture and watch Him work things out because I know He can be trusted. I will rest in His sovereignty and it is a great place to be.


Wednesday, January 12, 2011

Tour of Our Home

This week I thought it would be fun to show you around our house (even though it is going to take my whole battery just to upload the Without any further adieu....Welcome to our house in Kotido......

This is the obvious the front of our house. It is has 3 bedrooms and is probably about 1000 square ft.

The housing right outside our house that has 5 units, but we only have access to 4 of the units and they have 2 rooms each. It is full right now with different people that needed a place to live, so currently there is no room at the inn :)

Our yard. It needs some TLC but with no water what can you do? Notice our nice living fence made from thorns. It is actually a good fence and no one would want to climb over it. The only downside is the critters that like to live in it such as mice, rats, and spiders. And that is the outside of the pit latrine on the left.

And just because most of you have not seen the inside of a pit latrine I had to include this. It pretty much just has a hole in it. This pit latrine is actually really nice compared to many I have seen and been in. Consider it the Cadillac of pit latrines :)
Here is our dish washing station. Notice the nice drying rack my husband made, it even has a wind blocker to keep the wind from blowing our dishes away. I love his engineer mind :) Those basins are also what we take a bath in. But we don't actually fit in them.....

Our water collection station. We collect water in those yellow containers that are called Jerry Cans.
My new stove. It is called a coal pot and I am just learning to use it. You burn wood in the bottom of it and set your pots and such on top of it. I will use it to cook things that take a while to cook (beans) because propane is expensive and 5 hours away.

Step inside....
This is our kitchen. Our propane stove and nice cement counter that was custom made with convenient storage underneath where cockroaches love to live.

Part of our kitchen. The lovely water tank my husband made. See the lovely spout at the bottom. This is our kitchen sink where we wash hands and such but we don't drink this water, we have another tank of water that we have filtered for drinking.

Our dining room/school room

Our living room

The boy's room

Our lovely new pet hedgehog (and Carter's best friend), Knuckles. We all think he is super cute. Funny story how we got him. A boy brought him to our house to sell him. We paid 50 cents for him. Today a man came by and knocked on our gate and said, "I hear your family likes pets and my sisters from the village have brought a monkey to sell." (news travels fast around here, and apparently our family has quite the reputation) My response, "Sorry we don't want a monkey." For the record they carry Ebola around here, and other diseases such as rabies. I looked out the gate and there in a bag was the monkey going all crazy inside. Just what we need....a monkey. I think not, but we had a good laugh about it.

Lastly......our shoe mess outside our door. I will say we had company but I think the kids miss the whole point of the lovely shoe basin I created. At least they didn't wear their shoes inside. It is bad enough that we have to sweep 2-3 times a day with the dirt and dust.

Well that is it. I hope you enjoyed our tour. Love to you all.

Wednesday, January 5, 2011


"Many are the plans in the mind of a man, but it is the purpose of the Lord that will stand." Proverbs 19:21
Ever had a plan that didn't happen in your timing or the way you thought it would? Most of us can say "yes" and many of us could even admit this has happened more than once.

I find myself once again realizing that God's timing is perfect and I need to be still. We have plans that sometimes don't happen or don't happen when we want them to but we can have confidence knowing that the plans of God always stand, and right on time.

This concept is immensely apparent in my life right now. Especially with the completion of the Children's Home. The construction, and the administration involved in opening a Children's home is not going as quickly as we would like, but God is teaching us a long the way. I have a tendency to go before God rather than resting and letting Him lead me. I was naive to think that once the construction was done we would be able to open our doors to house the street children. It is not that simple, especially when you are in a country that doesn't hurry to get things done. There is a multitude of things that have to be accomplished before the Children's home can open, and we can be housing children. A lot of issues are complicated, and we will have to jump through a lot of hoops but God will be glorified, and in His timing.

In the mean time I will focus on the cross and not the outcome of situations. I will be still, and rest in God's timing and sovereignty. I will look at what He wants me to do day to day and not miss the little things.

Here are a couple pictures of the work that is happening on the Children's home:

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Fulk Newsletter

Hey sorry I didn't get a chance to blog this week. I am going to give you a link to our newsletter that I sent out which will give you a lot of details about what we have been up to. I had a list of people I was sending our newsletter to via email and gmail did not save them, so I had to try from memory who wanted to receive the updates . If you didn't get it via email and would like to be on the list to receive them please email me at with your email address. Thanks.

Happy New Year,